Interview: Terry Crews on 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' Hosting 'Millionaire' and Defying Expectations
Photo Credit: S & A
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Interview: Terry Crews on 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' Hosting 'Millionaire' and Defying Expectations

Terry Crews

Terry Crews is everywhere. In addition to regular television

gigs as Sergeant Jeffords on Fox’s "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and host of

the syndicated "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," he maintains a

thriving movie career with recent roles in "Draft Day,"

"Blended," and "Expendables 3." And then there are the Old Spice commercials. And the book with

Random House.

Crews took a break from his busy schedule to talk with S&A

about his career and what’s coming up next.

Where he gets his sense of humor:

My mom. One of my best memories is of me and my mother and

my brothers watching "The Carol Burnett Show," and then we would

replay it ourselves and do all the parts. My mother would act like Carol

Burnett. She loves to laugh.

One of his favorite upcoming episodes of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine":

Jake falls for Sophia (Eva Longoria) and she’s a defense attorney.

We hate them because they get people off, and she’s defending the guy he

arrested. So I’m kind of this middle man in between them. All the detectives

are like my kids, and so I’m like, "You’re about to get in trouble."

All the drama on the show happens around police work but you might as well be

in high school. Every character has that kind of story.

Bringing a different, more upbeat vibe to "Who Wants to be a

Millionaire?"

It’s just me. This is "Millionaire" with Terry

Crews. The Old Spice commercials will tell you, it’s really hard for me to calm

down because I get excited about things. I work out for two hours every day

just so I can be calm.

So energy is always part of my performance. And I like

people, and you can’t fake liking people. One reason I love acting is because I

study people. I really want them to win, I get excited for them, and I get just

as upset when they lose.

Defying expectations about athletes and ‘intimidating’ black men with

his comedic, lighthearted persona:

I stopped thinking about what people wanted me to be and

started thinking about what I wanted to do. As an athlete, you start to do what

other athletes do and what’s expected of you. But what I discovered is that

when you leave that and just do you, things fall into place.

I grew up in Flint, Michigan. It was a factory town, and

that’s all we knew. If you talked about anything different or tried anything

different there were people who would say, "What makes you think you can

do that?" And they felt they were helping you. Every human being is super

complex, but we simplify ourselves according to what people expect of us.

Brooklyn Nine-NineGetting involved in areas outside of acting:

Oh yeah, I’ve written some scripts. I have some friends that

I think are even more talented than me, and they’re really just beginning their

careers and I want to help put them out there. The way I ended up on screen, my

very first audition a friend invited me to, and I got it. But I always saw

myself being behind the scenes first, even before acting.

Preparing for the next level of his career:

My job is not to force Hollywood into making me a star. A

lot of people think they can will their way into it, but you don’t. People vote

on you. ABC came to me and said, "We would love for you to host

‘Millionaire.’"

But you have to work up to that. So my thing is to make

myself as valuable as possible. I’m still improving.

On his book, ‘Manhood’:

It’s basically a brutal self examination of everything I did

wrong and what steered me into being a better man. It was a cleansing

experience to write a book. You go through this sleep-walking dance every day,

and I basically had to examine myself and see why my wife and kids didn’t want

to be around me. I was on this masculine thing, like "it’s my way or the

highway."

What prompted him to become an author:

My wife and I would go out and people would say, "He’s

amazing, we love him," and I would look over and see her eyes roll. Because

Hollywood gases you up. But I had to let people know, what looks good ain’t

always good. You see successful people every day who kill themselves. And you

see people who don’t have a lot, but they’re happy. I’d rather write about what

true happiness is.

The whole book is to tell what happens for real, and you’ll

be very disappointed to see that I’m just like you. [laughs] I could easily be

Ray Rice, or in jail, or dead. But there were decisions I made that took me to

another point.

What’s next:

With "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," I couldn’t be happier

with how it’s going. Our job is just to make the best show ever, but it’s great

how the fans are responding to it. I’m doing another movie with Adam Sandler in

the spring, "The Ridiculous 6." We’ve got more Old Spice commercials

coming up. And I’ll tell you one thing, Terry Crews is just getting started.

 

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